Alessio Cavallaro is widely acknowledged as a leading figure in the development of contemporary electronic arts in Australia, primarily as an artistic director, curator, producer, and publisher of innovative film, video, media, and sound arts. He is a member of the Curatorial Committee for ISEA 2013 Sydney, and is also developing a range of interdisciplinary projects across the fields of visual and performing arts, science and technology.
From 2011 to 2012 Cavallaro was Director of ReelDance, at Carriageworks, Sydney, where he curated Dance on Screen 2012. From 2000 to 2010, he was Senior Curator at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), at Federation Square, Melbourne, where he made significant contributions to the strategic policies and creative directions of the organisation. He was centrally involved in establishing ACMI’s collection of moving image art, and in the development, design and delivery of more than 20 major exhibitions and related programs. He forged partnerships with many distinguished Australian and international artists — such as Stelarc, Jeffrey Shaw, Jon McCormack, Lynette Wallworth, Patricia Piccinini, Simon Penny, Shaun Gladwell, Wax Sound Media, Baz Luhrmann’s Bazmark Inq., Adam Elliot, Chunky Move, Bill Viola, Christian Marclay, Ryoji Ikeda, Keiko Kimoto, Char Davies and Granular Synthesis — and with a wide range of organisations and agencies, nationally and internationally.
Major original initiatives as curator at ACMI include the groundbreaking Transfigure (2003–04), “one of the most ambitious and successful media art exhibitions Australia has ever hosted” – The Age; SenseSurround (2004), Hollywood Remix (2009), and Len Lye, co-curated with Tyler Cann (2009), to date ACMI’s highest-rated exhibition. Cavallaro was lead curator for World Without End (2005), 2006 Contemporary Commonwealth (2006), and Setting the Scene: Film Design from Metropolis to Australia (2008), and producing curator for Stanley Kubrick: Inside the Mind of a Visionary Filmmaker (2005), Centre Pompidou Video Art 1965–2005 (2007), the record-breaking Melbourne Winter Masterpieces exhibition Pixar: 20 Years of Animation (2007), and Bill Viola’s The Raft and The Tristan Project (2010), presented in association with Kaldor Public Art Projects.
Also at ACMI, Cavallaro initiated and curated several (touring) screening programs, including Swerve (2001), Plasmatic (2002), Light-Time-Motion (2002), Periscope (2003), and Ecstatic City: Miniplex (2008), and brokered partnerships with and curated programs for OZeCulture (2001), Multimedia Art Asia Pacific, Beijing (2002), SIGGRAPH’s Graphite (2003), Melbourne Art Fair (2002, 2004), Australian Business Arts Foundation Awards (2008), Melbourne International Arts Festival (2004, 2008, 2010), Federation Square’s The Light in Winter Festival (2009, 2010), the Australia-Japan Media Art Project in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, and at IAMAS (2010), Art Taipei 2010, and the Australian Pavilion at Shanghai World Expo 2010.
Cavallaro was founding Director (1997–2000) of dLux media arts, Sydney, where he initiated, produced and curated a range of innovative programs, including Peter Callas: Initialising History (1999) and Synthetics: the electronically generated image in Australia (with Stephen Jones, 1998), and the international annual events d>art and futureScreen (Immersive Conditions, 1998; AvAtArs | phantom agents, 1999; soft | hard | wet, 2000).
He was guest curator of oZone, Centre Pompidou, Paris/Barbican Gallery, London (2003/04), and Unnatural Selection, the first group exhibition of Australian media art at Ars Electronica (2004); and principal contributing curator for Under_score: Net Art, Sound and Essays from Australia, New York (2001), and Move On Asia 2010 Video Art Festival, Seoul (2010). Other landmark projects include: ISEA Sydney 1992, Screen Australia’s Filmmaker and Multimedia events (1993, 1995), and An Eccentric Orbit: video art in Australia (1994).
Cavallaro was co-founder of Novamedia Ltd (2001), Australia’s first media art agency. He was an inaugural member of the New Media Arts Board of The Australia Council for the Arts (1997–2000); Board Director of the Sydney Film Festival (1997–2000) and Electronic Media Arts Australia (1988–1991); manager of the Australian International Video Festival (1990–91); and manager and co-programmer for the Australian Film Institute, Sydney (1984–1990).
Publications as co-editor include: Transfigure (ACMI, 2003), Impossible Nature: The Art of Jon McCormack (ACMI, 2004), Unnatural Selection (Novamedia, 2004), the national arts journal RealTime (1996–2000), and the international sound art journal Essays in Sound (1994–1998). Alessio conceived, initiated and co-edited (with Dr Darren Tofts and Dr Annemarie Jonson) the internationally acclaimed Prefiguring Cyberculture (MIT Press, 2003): “an intellectual tour de force, a seminal work … exceptional scholarly quality and immensely enjoyable.” – Leonardo
Cavallaro was founder, producer and presenter of 3.9.1.cannibale (aka cntmprr-ydtns), the influential program of experimental music and sound art on public radio 2MBS-FM, Sydney (1979–1989), widely regarded as “pioneering”, “landmark” and “inspired”. He has curated several sound art exhibitions including unsound (1991), Australian Sound Art MERIDIAN, Kobe, Japan (1993), and Sound Studio, Performance Space, Sydney (1994), and was co-curator of SoundCulture, Sydney (1991), Sound in Space, Museum of Contemporary Art, Australia (1995), and Sound States: Uncertain Destinations, Perth Institute of Contemporary Art (1997). He also initiated and produced various screening and sound art events at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, including Matinaze and Social Interiors’ performance, Spatial Circumference (both for Sydney Intermedia Network), and the SOUNDcheck series of forums.
Cavallaro is an assessor, advisor, and committee member for numerous events, organisations, tertiary institutions and government agencies, including The Australia-Japan Foundation (AJF/DFAT), The Australia Council’s Inter-Arts Board and Multicultural Advisory Committee, Arts Victoria Arts Innovation Panel, and re: live 2009, the Third International Conference on the Histories of Media Art, Science and Technology.
He has served as awards juror, including the National Digital Art Awards (2005, 2006), the 54th International Short Film Festival Oberhausen (2008), City of Melbourne’s Public Art Program (2009), and the inaugural Media Art Korea Award (2010). He was a member of Asialink’s Australia-Korea Arts Strategy delegation to Seoul (2009), and has presented widely, including the Millennium Dialogue Keynote Address, Beijing, China (2005); the 13th Japan Media Arts Festival, Tokyo (2010); 2012 Move On Asia Forum, Seoul; and Curating in Asia 2012, Seoul.